My name is Jordan, I am 24 years of age and in my 6th and final year of Medicine and I’m also a Rowing Coach Scholar here at the University of Leeds. In order to take on this role I have recently completed my Level 2 qualification and I coach my peers week to week in a voluntary capacity both on the water and in the gym.
I have always enjoyed roles which have involved teaching and coaching from my mid-teens. During my recent years in medical school I have found it rewarding to engage with lower years and assist with the development of their clinical education. I joined rowing two years ago in my 4th year of university. After managing to make the performance squad in my novice year I maintained this into my first senior season last year. I felt that I learnt a lot about rowing in my senior year and grasped the key concepts of how to make a boat go fast. This gave me the confidence to start to interact with novices and other senior rowers about technique later in the year and pass on my knowledge to them. The club suggested an opportunity that I take up a coaching scholarship position, which I have not regretted.
I’m currently working mainly with the novice men’s squads and I have also been involved in some water sessions with the novice women. In addition to this I run the Monday club circuits and assist Dan Grant (Head of Rowing) with Thursday evening conditioning circuits. I’ve found this opportunity has given me a similar rewarding experience to that I had experienced in teaching clinical medicine.
On the Coach Scholar programme I have developed communication skills ranging from motivating athletes to negotiating training programmes with the athletes’ needs in mind. Furthermore, I have learnt how important personality characteristics both from athletes and myself can contribute to the success of training sessions and performance in competitions. Finally, I have been able to develop techniques and skills which are transferable to my future career as a medical practitioner.
I think with anything that you take up, as long as you are motivated and enjoy what you are doing then you will succeed and stay committed to it. I think this is very relevant to success in sport and life in general. Currently, my engagement hours for placement are around 40 hours a week, 95% of this is clinical and so a lot of my learning is spent on placement rather than bringing work home with me and spending time in the library. Outside of my course I am co-captain and part of the senior men’s performance squad where I’ve managed to secure a place in the 1st VIII during the autumn season. This level of participation in the sport requires around 18 hours of training per week. Most of these are early morning sessions and so are not hard to make. Finally, as a scholar I spend from three hours to eight hours per week on coaching. This semester alone I have clocked up almost 70 hours of coaching!
This may seem like a lot of work to some people and the question comes about, when do I socialise? A lot of this comes down to priorities. I have found that I tend to go on less nights out which is more of a personal choice (when you get to 24, your body cannot keep up with some of the 18/19 year olds that I train with). Furthermore, I have a good mix of friends in rowing and in medicine. This means that when I am training, often I am also socialising with friends. Finally, my friends from medicine I have known for six years so are very understanding of my training commitments and support me where they can.
The coaching scholarship also provides you with good training as well as experience with balancing tasks and deadlines and prioritising the time frames in which these need to be completed. The Coaching Scholarship is a really rewarding way to give back to your sports club at university especially if they taught you the sport. Furthermore, it helps you develop skills which are transferable and very relevant to real world jobs, not just coaching.
If you want to find out more about our volunteering scholarships and how to get involved head to the Coaching Scholar webpage.